Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Yellow is the Color of......

Yellow usually brings to mind the sun, happiness, energy. I remember sunny yellow kitchens of my childhood, with cafe curtains blowing in the breeze. I have friends who painted their yet-to-be-born babies' rooms yellow thinking it was a good solution when the sex was unknown. (Unfortunately it wasn't as yellow has too much energy for babies, keeping them from sleeping soundly.) But yellow has moved into the 21st century, becoming a sophisticated version of it's happy-go-lucky 50's self.

Because it's a primary color, it can be used with almost any other color, depending on the look, feel, and mood you are going for. Want to pair it with tried-and-true blue? One of the other primary colors, so of course it works! Orange? Wouldn't be a color without yellow! What rooms can you use it in? Whatever rooms you want! It certainly still works in kitchens. Look at this beauty from BHG! The style of the cabinets and the shade of yellow tells you this isn't your grandmother's kitchen.And the pop of orange shows you how well those two colors blend.

Courtesy of Better Homes & Gardens
And despite the high energy nature of the color, you can still use it in the bedroom. If you want serious yellow, you may want to select the guest room, where you can go all out. But even in the master bedroom yellow works very well, although smaller doses may help you sleep a little better. Why not pair it with something soothing like brown? The brown wall makes the room cozy while the yellow makes sure you'll face the day bright-eyed and bushy-taled (as my Grandmother used to say). And the white pulls it all together, bringing a sense of calm to the space.

Do you like yellow, but aren't sure you want a room built around it? Then use it as an energetic accent! This bookshelf adds just the pop this room needs! Seeing the neutral wall color behind the shelves keeps the room from feeling jumpy, while the yellow accents on the shelves and the table keep your eye moving. And there's that new take on "traditional" blue and white!

What if you do have your grandmother's furniture? Yellow can give it just the pop it needs to make it a focal point of the room. This beautiful Victorian chest looks wonderful when painted two shades of yellow. And it can be used in any room of the house! Certainly a bedroom, but what about an entry hall?What a way to welcome your guests! It would also work in the dining room as a small buffet, or in the kitchen to hold your linens, in the bathroom to hold your towels........wherever you use it, it's sure to bring a smile. Because that's what yellow does.

Want some more ideas about decorating with yellow? Check out my new board on Pinterest Not Your Grandmother's Yellow

Monday, May 13, 2013

Decorating Small Spaces

It seems the fever for McMansions is waning a bit. People are buying and building smaller. And downsizing is the name of the game, at least for Baby Boomers. But that can present challenges. First, buying smaller furnishings can be tricky, especially since everything looks smaller in a large furniture showroom, but probably isn't when you bring it home. So how do you make a small room work like a larger one without feeling cramped?

In a living/family room, get creative with the seating. While you may be tempted to buy a sectional,
that may not be the most effective seating arrangement. While several people can sit on a sectional, can they really do so comfortably? And sectionals generally have one way to be placed, which limits any other arrangements of the furniture. Instead use ottomans for seating flexibility. They can be used with chairs for more comfortable seating, as a coffee or side table (with a tray), or as additional seating when the need arises.

If you prefer a hard surface for your coffee table, use two smaller tables rather than one large one. This not only increases maneuverability in an otherwise tight space, they can also be moved easily around the room as the need arises. Or get really creative and use garden stools. They provide a flat, steady surface as a table, or additional seating if necessary.And notice the armless chairs. Another great space-saving idea.

There are other ways to make your furniture multi-task. If you need space for guests to sleep but don't have an extra room, use a daybed instead of a sofa - no need to have the space to open it (unlike a sleeper sofa). Instead of a bedside table, use a lowboy or small chest of drawers for additional storage. Cover a console table with a long tailored cloth to hide storage.

A few more suggestions........color and pattern are fine, but keep them to a minimum as they can go a long way in a small space. Use them in an accent chair, pillow, or rug. Let in as much natural light as possible, which means keeping window treatments to a minimum - and no dark colors! A strategically placed mirror (say, across from a window) brings in light while expanding space.

Like these ideas? Check out my Pinterest board Decorating Small Spaces.